Workshop: From Archival Pasts Towards Archival Futures: Epistemologies, Decolonization and (Dis-)Placement

Oghenetoja Okoh Discussion

From Archival Pasts Towards Archival Futures: Epistemologies, Decolonization and (Dis-)Placement

Exploring the archival legacies of colonialism from different disciplinary angles, the workshop questions the complex ways in which archives connect present-day societies to the past and the future. It does so in relation to three major themes: the material and epistemological legacies of colonialism in archival contexts, the specific roles of archives and archival practices in current demands for the decolonization of scholarship and memory and the issue of archival (dis)placement. Altogether, the workshop strives to raise fundamental questions about the relationship between our understanding, ownership and location of (colonial) archives on the one hand and the making of history on the other.

The workshop discusses ‘the archive’ in dialog between scholars from Europe and Africa. It will be held at the Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana, Legon. Please email to register for virtual attendance.

Program (all times GMT)


10.00–10.30 Welcome and Introduction
Issa Fofana (Bamako) and the Workshop Organizers

10.30–12.00 Opening Keynote
Chair: Edwina Dei Ashie-Nikoi (Legon)

- Miranda Mims (Rochester): Archival-Futurism. Archiving without Borders

12.00–1.30 Lunch Break

1.30–3.30 Panel I: Decolonizing the Archive, Decolonizing History
Chair: Riley Linebaugh (Mainz)

- Haydee Bangerezako (Dakar): History and the Postcolonial State. Decolonizing the Past Through Burundi‘s Centre of Civilisation

- David M Anderson (Warwick): Claim-Making and Truth-Seeking in the Colonial Archive. Reparative Histories from Europe’s Imperial Past

- Jamila Ghaddar (Lebanon/Canada): Provenance in Place. From Archival Fictions in France and Canada to Archival Decolonization in the Global South

Comment: Akosua Adomako Ampofo (Legon)

3.30–4.00 Coffee Break

4.00–6.00 Panel II: African Archives. Epistemological and Material Issues
Chair: Katharina Stornig (Giessen)

- Rose Miyonga (Warwick): Show and Tell. Personal Archives, Oral Sources and the Production of History of Kenya

- Chimwemwe Phiri (Durham): Archival Returns. Possibilities and "Repair". An Analysis of the Afterlives of Medical Collections from Malawi and Sudan

Comment: Vincent Hiribarren (London)


9.30–11.00 Perspectives from the Field: In Conversation with Likpe Community Archives
Chair: Edwina Dei Ashie-Nikoi (Legon)

- Conducted by Killian Onai (Lipke Community Archives)

11.00–12.15 Lunch Break

12.30–3.00 Excursion: The National Archives


9.00–11.00 Panel III: Archival Practices in Past and Present
Chair: Samuël Coghe (Berlin)

- Nathan Mnjama (Gaborone): Migrated Archives in East and Southern African Region

- Arouna Mefire Nsangou (Dschang): Classification des archives dans les Chefferies africaines. Entre épistémologies dites universelle, décolonisation et logiques du terroir. Cas des archives du royaume Bamoun au Cameroun

- Fabienne Chamelot (Portsmouth): “Colonial Archives are not Your Typical Archives”. A Discussion About Provenance and Archival Integrity in the French Colonial Archives in 1958

Comment: Francis Garaba (KwaZulu-Natal)

11.00–11.30 Coffee Break

11.30–1.30 UG Students Speak
Chair: Kwame Ose-Poku (Legon)

- Isaac Amos Abanyie (Legon): Reflecting on the Needed Archival Renaissance in Africa

- Ruth Karehina Bodua-Mango (Legon): Names as a Linguistic Archive of the Safaliba People

- Charles Gakpada (Legon): Exhibiting our Past: The Special Funeral of the Ve Traditional Area

1.30–3.00 Lunch & Coffee Break

3.00–5.00 Panel IV: Archives on the Move. Archival (Dis)Placement and Diaspora
Chair: Bettina Severin-Barboutie (Clermont-Ferrand)

- Jonathan M. Jackson (Cologne): Dispatched and Displaced. Reconstructing a Material and Social Archive through Early Photographic Postcards of Zanzibar

- James Lowry (New York) and Forget Chaterera-Zambuko (Abu Dhabi): Lost Unities. The Materiality of the Migrated Archive

Comment: Todd Shepard (Baltimore)


9.30–11.30 Panel V: Alternative Archives in Africa and the World
Chair: Beatriz Valverde Contreras (Coimbra)

- Caio Simões De Araújo (Johannesburg): “The Archive is the Future”. Queering African Pasts Through Archival Intervention

- Paul Lennart Sprute (Berlin): The Dispersed Archive of Bong Mining and Historiographical Silences between Liberia and Germany

Comment: Chao Tayiana (Nairobi)

11.30–1.30 Lunch Break

1.30–3.30 Roundtable Discussion: Archival Pasts and Futures
Chair: Edwina Dei Ashie-Nikoi (Legon)

Participants: Judith Opoku-Boateng (Legon), Miranda Mims (Rochester), Edgar Taylor (Kampala), Alexander Keese (Geneva), Brice I. Owabira (Brazzaville)

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